Severe depression

What is Severe depression?

Major depressive disorder (MDD) (also known as clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder; or as recurrent depression in the case of repeated episodes) is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive and persistent low mood that is accompanied by low self-esteem and by a loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. The term "depression" is used in a number of different ways. It is often used to mean this syndrome but may refer to other mood disorders or simply to a low mood. Major depressive disorder is a disabling condition that adversely affects a person's family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health. In the United States, around 3.4% of people with major depression commit suicide, and up to 60% of people who commit suicide had depression or another mood disorder.

The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is based on the patient's self-reported experiences, behavior reported by relatives or friends, and a mental status examination. There is no laboratory test for major depression, although physicians generally request tests for physical conditions that may cause similar symptoms. The most common time of onset is between the ages of 20 and 30 years, with a later peak between 30 and 40 years.

Typically, people are treated with antidepressant medication and, in many cases, also receive counseling, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Medication appears to be effective, but the effect may only be significant in the most severely depressed. Hospitalization may be necessary in cases with associated self-neglect or a significant risk of harm to self or others. A minority are treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The course of the disorder varies widely, from one episode lasting weeks to a lifelong disorder with recurrent major depressive episodes. Depressed individuals have shorter life expectancies than those without depression, in part because of greater susceptibility to medical illnesses and suicide. It is unclear whether medications affect the risk of suicide. Current and former patients may be stigmatized.

The understanding of the nature and causes of depression has evolved over the centuries, though this understanding is incomplete and has left many aspects of depression as the subject of discussion and research. Proposed causes include psychological, psycho-social, hereditary, evolutionary and biological factors. Long-term substance abuse may cause or worsen depressive symptoms. Psychological treatments are based on theories of personality, interpersonal communication, and learning. Most biological theories focus on the monoamine chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which are naturally present in the brain and assist communication between nerve cells. This cluster of symptoms (syndrome) was named, described and classified as one of the mood disorders in the 1980 edition of the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual.

Questions and answers on "Severe depression"

I am on the verge of suicide, it seems the only option left

I was diagnosed with severe depression last year, but its obviously something else, I...

doctor1 MD

Hello
Welcome to HCM

You have been diagnosed with severe depression and are not taking any medicines currently. You have mentioned that you can't...

Read Full Thread   Ask a Doctor Now

my daughter gets these fit like seizures. no froathing or toungue biting.she gets stiff. the condition deteriorated and she passed urine in the...

doctor1 MD

Majoon Zabeeb 3 gm BD, Sharbat Ahmad Shahi 10 ml BD, Sharbat Neelofar 10 ml. continue for one month and for further contact after one month...

Read Full Thread   Ask a Doctor Now

hi doc , my mom is having a severe case of depression . doctors have told that it is severe depression and it will take time to get to normal ....

doctor1 MD

Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic,

I'm sorry to hear that your mother is going through a difficult time due to her psychiatric problems. It is...

Read Full Thread   Ask a Doctor Now

Recent questions on  Severe depression

doctor1 MD

Dear Madam, I am 27 yrs old. I stopped having my periods in 2006 for 6 mnths. I had eves care & it resumed after 6 mnths. Then when i stopped...

doctor1 MD

I am 55 years old, female. I had a provisional diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis in 1980 but only had a MRI scan confirming the disease last year...

doctor1 MD

I am prescribed to 16mg of suboxone a day. I have been on suboxone currently for 3 months but I have been on it off and on since 2008. I was...

doctor1 MD

I have been on methadone for approx. 5 years now at a dose of 30mg taken 4 times daily. This has not only stopped any unpleasant withdrawl symptoms...

doctor1 MD

My father is having depression .from last two months he was not able to sleep property and very disturbed because of this problem.Then in last...

doctor1 MD

how can i help my grandson deal with the loss of his mom

doctor1 MD

I have PTSD and severe depression and 18 years ago my doctor used Elavil to help my antidepressant work. I kept saying the antidepressant wasn't...

Ask Question
Doctor Image
MD

Hi, I am Dr. Andrew Rynne (Family Physician). I will be guiding you through the process. Please write your question below.

Related Drugs/Medications
Related Medical Topics